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Sacré bleu! La Compagnie suspends London-New York all business class service

La Compagnie

Image Credit: La Compagnie

 

Well well well. London to New York is by far the world’s highest yielding route for airlines. It’s all the more impressive given the number of airlines, frequencies, aircraft and service types plying the lucrative route.

But something seems to be amiss at the moment.

Hot on the heels of BA canceling one of their all J class flights, La Compagnie have announced suspension of their Luton – New York all J service from 24 September.
Is it *gasp* – Brexit?
Too early to tell for sure but its clear that the niche for premium only services on the route is on the decline at least for the short term. La Compagnie is a French subsidiary of International Airline Group (IAG), the parent company of British Airways and operates two premium only 757s, one of which operates from London Luton to JFK with the other plying the Paris Orly to JFK run. So whilst they are a small airline they are also backed by one of the biggest airline conglomerates in the world. And when IAG pulls the plug on a project, its for a reason.
Regarding La Compagnie specifically. What does this mean with technically half of their fleet of two going out of service?
  • Open another route? (but to where?)
  • Increase the frequency on the Paris-Newark route? (what does demand look like?)
  • Keep it as a back-up for their daily Paris-Newark flight? (is that fiscally prudent?)
  • Return it to the lessor? (what do the penalties on an early return look like?)

Rumors has it that it’s actually none of the above – the airline might be withdrawing the 757 from the ‘less successful’ London service to retro-fit and upgrade the interiors of the aircraft then place it on the Paris rotation when that aircraft is withdrawn for the upgrades – after which its placed back on the Luton flight when things hopefully start to pick up.

La Compagnie 2

Image Credit: La Compagnie

 

It’s a problem for such a niche company such as La Compagnie when one of their two routes (aka the bread to their butter) starts to struggle a bit, but I suppose it’s a good opportunity to do the long planned fleet upgrade (sunk capital cost anyway). It’s also a reasonable way to mitigate the losses of a poorly performing route.

With the backing of IAG I think the airline will find a way to make it work, and let’s hope we see an uptick in the Fall on the London to New York service. They aren’t the best across the Pond by any stretch of the imagination, but are probably one of the best in terms of bang for the buck if you want a flat bed across the Atlantic.

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